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Old 02-08-2018, 11:48 PM   #1
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Uneven Subway Tile Edge Remedy

Just wrapped up a bathroom remodel that included a complete shower overhaul. Pretty happy with the final product from afar (the before pictures are a doozy) but close up examination of the tile work is killing me.

Went with Daltile Rittenhouse 3x6 subway tile from HD and didn't mind the look of the subway tile edge without bullnose or trim... that is until I hired a less than stellar tile guy. Bottom part looks okay but then things take a turn for the worse the further up you go. Not only does it start to stair step but some tiles are pretty flush with the wall while others protrude quite a bit. It is an older home so my guess is that the walls were probably uneven to begin with so I suppose I'll cut him a break there....

What are my remedy options? This crew is a cast of characters and quite frankly I don't think they think it looks abnormal so I'll probably take this one into my own hands depending on my options. I don't love the look of trim but it sure beats this so could I get a Dremel tool in there to create a small enough opening to slide trim in there? Glass is already attached and caulked so I would really really like to avoid removing any of the tiles.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-09-2018, 06:52 AM   #2
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1. It doesnt matter if the house is 200 yrs old, it is an installers responsibility to ensure the area has been prepped properly. If that means correcting the framing then that's what has to happen. No, slack should be given because they didnt properly prep the walls.

*How was the shower waterproofed?

2. I don't think you'll be able to slide anything behind the tile to cap the edge. The best thing would be a piece of trim the covers the the edgr and the face to hide the stair step. But I'm not sure what that would be. Making a piece out of wood is simple enough but that wouldnt look very good in my opinion.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:12 AM   #3
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The installer should have simply put a level on the shower edge and drew a pencil mark to keep his tiles straight. It's the easiest part of tile installation.

Maybe there are metal edge profiles that you can use to cover/hide the edge. I used a Schulter Jolly edge profile on a recent project.

The problem is....getting the metal inserted behind the tile mortar.

I would complain to the installer first and tell them it's not acceptable. Ask them what they are going to do to fix it.

A straight line is a straight line.

I've seen recently some dark walnut edges (on Instagram) put on showers and it looks good...as long as there are other wood accents around the shower.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:45 AM   #4
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Sucks that this even happened, but is not all that uncommon given today's "craftsman". Besides the stair stepping, the cut edge next to pillowed edge as a result of running bond would drive me nuts.

Something like this might work:
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Old 02-09-2018, 09:45 AM   #5
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That would send my OCD into overdrive.

Even if you were somehow able to get behind the tile I don't see how any tile edging will look right, and it certainly wouldn't be plumb as it follows the stairway up.

If removing/replacing the offending tiles isn't an option the only thing I can think of is using a piece of 1X2 (3/4 X 1 1/2) to hind it. Place a long straight edge at the bottom of the subway tile, make it plumb with a level, then measure the gap at the top between the straight edge and the tile. Then rabbit the length of the 1X2 to 1/8" wider than the gap is at the top, and make the depth of the rabbit just a hair more than the thickness of the tile. After verifying the fit and adjusting as needed, apply at least 2 coats of your wall paint to the 1X2; front, back, edges, top and bottom. Nail it up, caulk it, fill nail holes, one final coat of paint. Being the color of the wall it will blend in somewhat.

You might have to cut it in such a way as to create a "leg" that goes down the front of the curb so it looks a bit better. You could also plane the 1X2 down to maybe 5/8" so it doesn't protrude from the wall so much.
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Old 02-09-2018, 04:00 PM   #6
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Why not add a vertical row of 3x6 bullnose trim to the outside edge? It would neaten up the install by hiding the irregularities in the grout joint. And it would extend your tile past the curb by 3" which will probably prove to be a good thing in a few years. That area of drywall is suseptible to water damage.

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Old 02-09-2018, 04:44 PM   #7
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What Tool guy said.

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Old 02-09-2018, 06:49 PM   #8
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I'd do the same, add a row of BN to the edge. Or a pencil rail that's thicker than the tiles would be better than nothing.

Obviously he doesn't know the basics of tile setting, makes me wonder how the rest of the shower was built.

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Old 02-10-2018, 07:08 AM   #9
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How about something like this using PL Premium to hold it on
They probably have different sizes


Last edited by roughrider; 02-10-2018 at 08:19 AM. Reason: More info
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Old 02-10-2018, 10:03 AM   #10
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Your thought would be to kerf the wall and embed one leg of angle while overlapping tile edge? Might work, but I think you'd have to find something with a shorter leg so you didn't cut completely through the drywall.

Bear in mind this is mill finish aluminum, not anodized or powder coated. It will dull in appearance and be difficult to polish back to shine.
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Old 02-10-2018, 10:43 AM   #11
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Yes I know it's not an ideal repair but I think depending on the thickness of the tile it could get him out of trouble considering what it looks like now
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:54 PM   #12
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That aluminum could be ripped on a table saw easily.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:22 PM   #13
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I'd be inclined to adhere some metal profile that doesn't need to be anchored under the tile. Take some tape and place it straight down the edge of the shortest tile and caulk the space. The caulk line would be straight and the metal would be straight.

Otherwise I'd find something that covered that edge.

Don't think I'd do a bullnose and hope the varying widths of grout lines would look better. They probably would look better than what you have but I still wouldn't like it.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:24 PM   #14
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Look at Quadec-K on page 8...Rondac would have worked if used before the tile was set as would several other edge profiles. The Quadec might be too thick...most of their other stuff comes in numerous thicknesses.
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